In a year that’s been characterised by the unprecedented use of the word unprecedented, not to mention a pandemic, multiple lockdowns and the deepest recession since the Great Depression, we thought we would dedicate our penultimate Blog post of 2020 to some good news. Despite a deluge of negative headlines, there are many positive developments afoot which perhaps readers may have missed. Here are three stories which make us feel optimistic about the future –
1: Net-zero pledges have climbed: the United Nations announced in September that the number of countries and corporates announcing net-zero carbon commitments has almost doubled in the last year. Countries such as China and corporates from Facebook to Ford have all instituted goals for the first time. Watch also for next year’s COP26 global climate conference where further targets may be disclosed.
2: Hunger reduced: eradicating hunger is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and while there is still much to be done, the World Food Programme (the largest humanitarian organisation on the planet responsible for addressing hunger and promoting food security) has provided assistance to ~100m people in 88 countries over the past year.
3: More medical breakthroughs: the speed in which vaccines were developed to protect against SARS-coV-2 (or the coronavirus) is testament to the dynamism and collaboration of the scientific community. Beyond this major achievement, over the past year, researchers in Australia have made major progress in developing a cancer vaccine to treat blood cancers and other malignancies. Meanwhile, researchers in Hong Kong have developed the world’s first spherical artificial eye with a 3D retina. This may offer hope to people with visual impairments.
There have also been major gains achieved in the past 12 months in terms of plastic waste reduction, wildlife conservation and increasing gender equality, even if – to reiterate – there is much more that can still be done. For further information on all the above stories, see this useful summary from the World Economic Forum. With season’s greetings to all our readers.
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